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Domestic Abuse : Everyone Always ask the Same Question

Updated on March 16, 2017

Why Do They Stay?

Why Do They Stay? A piece written by Hilzoy on Obsidian (Hilzoy, 2009). It is a well written visceral look into the reality of the cycle of domestic abuse. Most people rack their brains trying to understand why someone would consider settling into a relationship with a monster without an understanding of the systematic breakdown of psychological coping mechanisms involved in the vicious cycle.

I’ll never forget the moment I saw Farrah Fawcett in the movie The Burning Bed (1984). From what I remember her abuse started either right around the honeymoon are shortly thereafter.

Men wait until they have a hold over you, which makes it more difficult to contemplate leaving. They also choose victims that are vulnerable, and when the abuse starts, it blindsides them. The article noted how “profoundly shocking and disorienting” this can be. There is a misconception according to (Hilzoy, 2009) that all victims have low self-esteem, which could not be further from the truth. Domestic violence can happen to anyone, and the surprise element is often what the perpetrator goes for when the abuse starts.

I remember something similar happening to me with a guy I dated for a short period. Looking back, I now realize all the signs were there. The head over heels start to the relationship tricked me into thinking it was real, “they are often things like he falls for you too hard and too fast, or he wants to be with you all the time” (Hilzoy, 2009). He wanted to move in immediately. Personally, the first time I saw the ‘crazy’ in his eyes, we had just taken an eight hour drive out of town to visit his sister. I felt absolutely trapped. He had already sold his condo and moved all his things into my place. The obsession was there but initially misinterpreted for a romantic whirlwind. The confusion was present, wondering how it was possible to misjudge someone so completely, the heartfelt apology, feeling like the rug had just been pulled out from underneath me.

Fortunately, it did not rise to the level of physical, and I immediately started plotting my way out as soon as we returned to town, but it was not as easy as one may think. I felt overwhelmingly disorientated by the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde routine, and later found out he was bipolar which explained a lot but certainly was no excuse. My point is that I agree with this article and one can never be too careful. It was an enlightening, eye-opening experience and one well learned from; I now look carefully and stay far away from those infamous, red flags.


When Will it Stop


Greenwald, R. (Director). (1984). The burning bed [Motion picture]. United States: MGM.

Hilzoy. (2009, April 10). Obsidian Wings: Why Do They Stay? Retrieved from


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    • Social Minds profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you DJ and your other comment for some reason showed up as spam, but I approved it. I'm sorry I'm just now seeing it.

      I want to say that I admire you for hanging in there and actively working out the situation with you and your husband. The option to leave was there, and he saw you were serious and decided to change. Good for you! You are really strong!

    • Social Minds profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you!

      You nailed it DJ!

      Learn how to take care of yourself and you'll always have choices.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 

      6 years ago

      Donna, last night I wrote a rather long comment on this hub.

      It has vanished into cyber space, or it could be my CRS in prime example.

      This is a very insightful hub.

      Education and being able to provide for one's self will forever be the key

      for women to have the financial means to walk away from an abuser.

      Good job, here.


    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 

      6 years ago

      Donna, you have written a comprehensive insight into the world of

      physical and/or verbal abuse. You need to shout this info from the tallest building. Yes, I realize that it can be a most contorted state of affairs. Until women are given the education to support themselves and their families; until they no longer need a man, but rather chose a mate to enhance their lives, then these inequities will continue.

      My husband retired 7 years ago. I had been a stay at home wife and mother. My husband started drinking substantially more than his norm.

      And, then the belittling started. Verbal abuse became the norm rather

      than the occasional. I found a quote that said,

      "Verbal Abuse Is Still Abuse". I taped it to the lamp on my desk and started going to counseling. I realized that I might have to start my life over and I was very resentful of being forced to make that choice.

      Fortunately we have two home, and I told him I did not want to return to the second home with him. He acted shocked at my decision, but that was a turning point in his treatment of me. I told him if a single word

      of degradation came out of his mouth, I would be on the next plane home. Thank God, he realized I meant what I said. We still have arguments but he does not call me names. We actually had to learn to be friends again. I am glad that I stayed.

      Keep up the good work, Donna. We need more professional women

      in the work force.

      Yes, I, too, remember "The Burning Bed". A movie like that stays in one's mind.

      Great hub!


    • Social Minds profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for commenting! Yeah it was quite a lesson learned!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      Good for you that you knew when to run instead of hanging on to straighten him out. Thanks for sharing your story. Cheers!

    • Social Minds profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Southern California

      Wow...that is some really great insight you added. The Oscar Wilde quote really spoke to me. Yes isolation and shame is a huge part of it. Once you feel alone, the options begin to dwindle.

    • dashingscorpio profile image


      6 years ago from Chicago

      Thanks for sharing your story.

      I believe moving "too fast" and ignoring "red flags" are a major reason why abused people find themselves in these bad situations.

      Why did you stay? Is a natural question to ask because the fact of the matter is the questioner is viewing that person's situation within the scope of the "big picture" and they see countless options.

      The person who is abused or bullied mentally "shrinks their world" to a point where they either eliminate their options or no longer (believe) they have many options!

      I knew a girl whose girlfriend was married to an abusive man. She married him against her parents wishes at the age of eighteen. Once the abuse started she refused to seek out help from her parents because she didn't want to hear "I told you so". Her (pride) eliminated the option of going home to her parents. Oftentimes there are scenarios where friends/family warn a person but they ignore them and later they're are too embarrassed to rely on those friends or family for help.

      Perception is reality! If someone doesn't (believe) they have any options they will try to endure a bad situation with the hope things will improve.

      Shrinking your world view is the step in feeling trapped.

      "Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."

      - Oscar Wilde

      Clearly if someone is verbally or physically abusive towards you they don't think you're all that "special".


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